Genre: Wellness


Why You Should Put That Smart Phone Down & Get Some Sleep

April 30, 2014 Book Talk 9

Why You Should Put That Smart Phone Down & Get Some SleepThrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom and Wonder by Arianna Huffington
Published by Crown Publishing Group, Harmony Books on March 25, 2014
Genres: Non-Fiction, Wellness
Pages: 352
Source: complimentary review copy
AmazonBarnes & Noble


This post was inspired byThrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder by Arianna Huffington who encourages everyone to sleep their way to the top. Join From Left to Write on May 1 we discuss Thrive. As a member, I received a copy of the book for review purposes.

While Thrive is about “sleeping your way to the top” it is also about shutting down, tuning in, and taking care.  I’m thinking every. single. adult. needs a copy of this book.  Huffington stresses the importance of sleep for our overall well-being.  And it’s not just children who need 8 -10 hours of sleep – adults NEED this as well.  She recounts numerous studies that reveal how bad it is to our physical and mental/emotional health when we try to run off only 4 – 6 hours.

According to a study from the Walter Reed Army Institute of Research, sleep deprivation reduces our emotional intelligence, self-regard, assertiveness, sense of independence, empathy toward others, the quality of our interpersonal relationships, positive thinking and impulse control.  In fact, the only thing the study found that gets better with sleep deprivation is “magical thinking” and reliance on superstition. (p. 6)

I am a huge believer in sleep and the benefits it brings.  Over six years ago when my honey and I met he was one of those who operated on the assumption that the less sleep one gets the more productive one is – ENNNN! WRONG!  I quickly brought him around to the realization that sleep is healing and absolutely necessary to our well-being.

We need to liberate ourselves from the tyranny of our fight-or-flight mechanism. And yet much of our life has actually been structured so that we live in an almost permanent state of fight-or-flight — here comes another dozen emails calling out for a response; must stay up late to finish the project; I’ll just use these four minutes of downtime to return six more calls. . .(p.61)

Another very important fact discussed in Thrive is unplugging and connecting IN REAL LIFE.  A HUGE GINORMOUS pet peeve of mine is cell phones at the dinner table.  My children are very much aware and often warn their friends before we eat because I am so anal about no cell phones, no phone calls, no text messages, no checking email, NO CELL PHONE at the dinner table.

But now I have been given an even greater idea from reading Thrive about what to do with cell phones at the dinner table ~ phone stacking!  “when friends meet for dinner–they put their cell phones in a stack in the middle of the table and the first one who checks his device before the bill comes has to pick up the check.” (p.64)  So using this one!

I was even laughing out loud when I got to the part about the “don’t take a picture of your meal” game!  I’ve known a few people who are notorious for this one!

My takeaways from Thrive:

  • At least one evening of NO devices including computers, iPad, Kindle.  My honey and I had already implemented this one a few weeks ago when we found ourselves in a routine of spending quality time with our devices but not each other.
  • Incorporate meditation and mindfulness into my daily routine.  The benefits are life-altering.
  • Connect with others and not virtually.  We are wired for connection – and not in the virtual sense.  Connecting with my mom by taking her to lunch or spending a few hours together shopping; connecting with each of my children by spending time with them in their environments; and time with friends is so critical to our mental well-being.
  • Play the phone-stacking game!

This is one of those books that while the content was not necessarily new it is a huge reminder to unplug and connect with ourselves and others.  Definitely a book everyone should read and take to heart.

How do you take care of yourself?  Are you getting enough sleep? QUALITY sleep?

Do you have any time that you unplug? unwind?


Weekend Cooking: Slimmer: The New Mediterranean Way to Lose Weight

July 27, 2013 Book Review, reviews 24

I received this book for free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book nor the content of my review.

Weekend Cooking: Slimmer: The New Mediterranean Way to Lose WeightSlimmer: The New Mediterranean Way to Lose Weight by Harry Papas
Published by Turner on June, 2012
Genres: Non-Fiction, Wellness
Pages: 240
Source: complimentary review copy


All my life I have sworn I would never diet.  I don’t like the word, I see it as one of those nasty 4-letter words!  But as many of you know, I have multiple sclerosis and recently I’ve read so much about how the way we eat affects the way we feel { logically, I know that ~ as someone who loves sweets, breads and southern food in general it’s much harder to um, accept}.  However, I’ve given myself a challenge.  I thought for 30 days I would simply *try* to eat healthier – cut out the biscuits, iced caramel macchiatos with 3 pumps of simple syrup, and the sweets.  I told myself that I can do anything for 30 days – it’s really not that long among other pep talks!

So in order to start my new regimen of eating (notice I’m not using that 4-letter word!) I got a couple of books to help me out – Slimmer: The New Mediterranean Way to Lose Weight and Everyday Paleo: Real Food for Real Life.

Slimmer, by Harry Papas, begins with “The Slimmer Story” and an explanation of the nutritional plan.  I found Papas descriptive and logical explanation of the plan to be easy to understand with lots of research to back up his recommendations.

Studies continue to show that following a Mediterranean-style diet, which incorporates the traditional foods of the Mediterranean regions of Greece and parts of France and Italy, is beneficial to our health on a number of levels.  From lowering the risk for heart attack and stroke, to warding off cognitive impairment as well as Type 2 diabetes, cancer, and even obesity, the benefits are numerous and impressive.

What is the Mediterranean nutrition plan and lifestyle and is it doable in our fast-paced, rush rush rush society?  Large family meals at lunch time, afternoon naps, disconnecting from all the electronic devices that seem to have a hold on us, breathing – slow and steady. . .I’ve found that these can be done, with a little bit of tweaking (ok, maybe a lot of tweaking).  Large family meals? We do this at my mum’s on Sundays; afternoon nap? at least on the weekends I can get in an hour, and disconnecting? Well, I do that daily now.  Five minutes. No computer, cell phone, ipod, tv, ipad, anything that has to be plugged in.  During that 5 minutes I’ve found dinosaurs in the clouds, heard the birds serenading the world, and felt the warmth of the sun on my skin and the breeze lifting my hair.  Peace.  That’s what I’ve found in those 5 minutes.  Hey I like this Mediterranean lifestyle!

To go along with simplifying, I’ve chosen the easiest recipes out of Slimmer to try, including the Citrus Glazed Salmon below.  This was so simple, ready in less than 30 minutes and so delicious.  The ingredients were simple to find and most I had on hand anyways.  We just added fresh vegetables in foil to the grill that were also ready in 25 minutes.  Voila! A nutritious, delicious meal in less than 30 minutes!

I’d love to know if you try this recipe and if you cook the salmon on the grill or in the oven.  I imagine its quite tasty in the oven as well.

canstockphoto1521411Citrus Glazed Salmon

For the marinade:

Juice of 1 lemon
Juice of 1 orange
1 Tablespoon olive oil
1/4 grated orange rind
1 teaspoon prepared mustard
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh dill
Salt & pepper to taste {recipe calls for this but I don’t use salt/pepper – rely on herbs for flavor}


  1. Make the marinade by whisking together all the ingredients in a small bowl.
  2. Place the salmon fillets in a ceramic or glass baking dish and pour marinade over.  Cover & refrigerate for at least 2 hours, occasionally turning the fillets.
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  *we grilled the fillets using a cedar plank on the green egg – setting temp to 350 degrees and cooking for about 20 minutes – beyond yummy!*
  4. Remove cover and bake the salmon in the middle of the oven until firm and pink, about 25 minutes.  Occasionally check and move to prevent sticking and to evenly glaze.

Have your eating habits changed with the focus everywhere on Gluten-free, Hormone-free, Organic, Paleo, Atkins, etc. etc.? Do you have a favorite?  Next week I’ll share what I’ve learned in the Everyday Paleo Family Cookbook that is different from Mediterranean.  It’s all so confusing but also kind of fun to experiment with!

Weekend Cooking is hosted at Beth Fish  Reads.  For more great recipes and books all about food, please visit her site!

Happy Weekend Lovelies!

Disclosure: Many thanks to the publisher for the complimentary review copy.